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Make it Yourself: Homemade Organic Nutella

My mom seldom bought Nutella; it was (and still is) quite expensive and not very healthy (beside what they claim in their ads). We only had it when in was on sale and it was a real treat! When I started living by myself and buying what I wanted I often bought a jar; I loved it on my bagels…But soon I found that eating that often made me grumpy and weird…Too much sugar and fat intake, so I stopped buying it and said goodbye to chocolate spread, until I was at my mom and stumble upon a TV show about dessert. Here’s the recipe the guy proposed:

What you need:

  • 2 cups of Hazelnuts*
  • ½ cup of icing sugar
  • ½ cup of cocoa
  • 2 table spoon of hazelnut oil (sunflower, canola, even olive oil could work)
  • 1 table spoon of vanilla extract

What you do:

  1. On a cookie sheet, evenly spread hazelnuts and put them in the oven to roast at 400F for about 8 min. Check them often it roast fast!
  2. Let them cool and take out the shells by scrubbing them together.
  3. Place them in a robot and crush them for 5 min, until it start to look like butter.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredient and mix them for as long as it takes for you to like the texture. Some like it more crunchy, some like it more smooth.
  5. Slice a piece of bread and spread your newly made butter on it.
  6. Enjoy!

There are variation of this recipe that contains milk or dried powder milk products to make it more like the store-bought thing but I tend to make the recipe more simple. We tend to use organic ingredients.

* I had a friend make it by replacing the hazelnut by almond for her allergic daughter and they found it very good as well.  I guess any kind of nuts would work.

I suggest keeping it in your fridge since they’re no preservative. I usually double the recipe and it last us about a week.

It is SO good on toast, untoasted bread, fruits. It relatively takes no time to make and is so easy to offer in a pretty jar. The kids can help measuring and dumping the ingredients in the robot and will lick the spoon afterwards.


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Is organic clothing really healthier for children?

September is the month to celebrate all things green and organic.
But does organic really matter? Is organic clothing really healthier for children? – These are the most common questions I’m asked by people who hear about my business.

Let me give you just the facts, and you will be able to answer these questions yourself.

Did you know that our skin is the largest organ in our bodies? And what we put on this skin is just as important as what we eat. The skin easily absorbs the everyday chemicals it comes into contact with, allowing them to go into bloodstream.

A baby’s skin is very sensitive and is thinner and more porous than an adult’s. It’s less resistant to the harmful substances and bacteria in the environment. This means that babies are at a greater risk for health problems related to the absorption of pesticides. When these harmful substances are found in clothing or bedding which come into contact with a baby’s skin for extended periods of time, the possibility that these toxins make their way into your baby’s body greatly increases.




Conventional cotton is probably the most widespread carrier of toxins and is thus, the most dangerous. Each year cotton producers all over the world use more than $2.6 billion in pesticides, which is more than 10% of all agricultural chemicals. Since it is not a food crop, pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals used on it are not regulated. According to the EPA, seven of the top 15 pesticides used on U.S. cotton crops are potential or known human carcinogens. It takes over a third of a pound of pesticides to produce one cotton T-shirt!

Not only do these highly toxic chemicals contaminate the soil, but they also pollute the air and the water, as well as destroy the farmers’ health. According to the World Health Organization, about 20,000 deaths occur each year from poisoning by agricultural pesticides.

It doesn’t stop here. During processing, fabrics undergo chlorine bleaching and are dyed with products containing heavy metals. Children’s bedding and clothes are usually treated with flame retardants which most likely contain polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE’s) known to be endocrine disruptor. No amount of washing gets all of the chemicals out!

It is true that organic baby bedding and clothes are more expensive. But more and more companies are beginning to offer organic fabrics and children’s clothes, making them more affordable.
Additionally, products made from organic cotton last about five times longer than those made from conventional cotton. This probably has to due with the great number of processes that conventional cotton has to go through, which result in the breakdown of the fibers even before the fabric is sewn!

So, in the long run, buying organic seems to be a more financially-profitable option, and organic clothing and bedding bring so many healthy benefits that they’re worth the money!




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Eat Local – Support your Famer’s Market

Friday is an exciting day as I plan to do my shopping in the morning at my Local Farmer’s Market. I love all the fresh and yummy food but I also love getting to talk to the local farmers. Since we are in the planning stage of our future farm the local farmers are a wealth of information. Supporting local businesses is the best way to improve the economy.
I also like to find plants that are not going to be at my “big box” garden center. I picked out some berry bushes and the kids got popcorn plants. We love getting to see how these new items will work in our garden. It is also great homeschool research work for the kids to look up how to care for the new plants. So this week skip the grocery store and shop at your local farmer’s market. Find local Farmers Markets in your area,!

Produce you will find in the Spring:
(some of these are not found here in the East but may be found in your area)
Baby Lettuce Mixes ~Early Spring and again through Summer and Fall
Broccoli ~ Early Spring and again in late Fall and Winter
Broccoli Raab ~ Early Spring and again in late Fall and Winter
Fava beans ~Through early Summer
Fennel ~Early Spring and again through Summer and Fall
Garden Peas/Petit Pois ~Through early Summer
Morels ~Maybe be found as early as late winter depending on the weather
Mustard Greens ~Early Spring and again in Fall
New Potatoes and then other varieties ~Through Summer
Radishes ~Early Spring and again in Fall
Ramps ~Also known as the Wild Leeks of the Appalachia
Snow Peas ~Through early Summer
Sugar Snap Peas ~Through early Summer
Amaranth Greens ~Through Fall
Artichokes ~ Spring and again in early Fall
Arugula/Rocket ~Through Fall, but most tender in Spring
Carrots ~ Spring and again in late Summer
Celeriac Root
Chives ~Spring through Fall
Collards ~ Spring and again in Fall
Dandelion Greens
Fiddlehead Ferns
Garlic ~ Spring and again in Summer and early Fall
Green Onions, Sweet Onions such as Vidalias
and Other Varieties
~Through Fall
Lemons ~ Spring and again in Fall
Mangoes ~ Spring and again in Summer
Pineapple ~ Spring and again in Summer
Rhubarb ~Through Summer
Sorrel ~ Spring and again in Summer and Fall
Spinach ~ Spring and again in Fall
Turnips ~ Spring and again in Fall
Watercress ~ Spring and again in Fall
Apricots ~Through mid Summer
Blueberries ~Though Summer
Boysenberries ~Through mid Summer
Cardoons ~Through late Fall
Chard ~Through Winter
Cherries ~Through early Summer
Loganberries ~ Through mid Summer
Olallieberries ~ Through mid Summer
Plums ~ Through early Fall
Pluots ~ Through early Fall
Raspberries ~Through early Fall
Strawberries ~Through early Summer

Post by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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Make a Strawberry Fruit Tart

Today’s recipe is by Cyn of FairiesNest (be sure to check out her lovely shop here). The timing for this recipe is perfect with so much local fruit just coming into season (can’t wait for our local organic strawberries in June). It would make a delightful Mother’s Day surprise too.

Recipe for a Strawberry Fruit Tart

The strawberries in our part of the world are coming in fast and furious. To make this fruit tart, you start with a pre baked tart shell, preferably a sweet shortcrust. My favorite one is from the book Festive Tarts by Sylvia Thompson. (This is a fantastic tart book that I highly recommend and although it’s out of print you can find cheap used copies).

1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons butter
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cream

Combine the dry, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal, add the wet and mix lightly until a ball of dough forms. refrigerate for 15-30 mins. Roll out and place in tart form. Stick in the freezer for 30 mins and then bake in a 400 degree F oven with pie weights (or dried beans) on a piece of parchment inside. After 15 mins remove the weights and bake for 12 more mins. Cool and fill!

photo via Flickr

Cut up enough fruit to fill your tart; peaches, berries, plums, all of one kind or a mix …whatever you think is yummy. Mix together 1 cup sugar with 3 cups of orange juise and 4 tablespoon cornstarch in a saucepan. Heat this stirring constantly until it thickens. Put about 1/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the tart. Now place in the fruit in a pretty pattern or all mixed up, it doesn’t matter. Then carefully cover all the fruit with the rest of the OJ sauce. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but not more than 4 or 5 because you don’t want it to get soggy…though it will still taste good! One little trick; if you’re using fruit that might brown, like peaches, toss them with the OJ first and then drain them and proceed. It also gives the OJ a great peachy taste… This works well for freezing peaches too!

Here‘s a sweet spring flower pixie from Cyn’s shop!

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Tutorial Thursday

How to make your own organic lotion at home – eco and money conscious! AND ALL NATURAL!

As a mom to a young toddler with eczema, I learned firsthand how making my own skin cream could be healing (I could customize the ingredients) and save me a bundle of money. Making one’s own skin cream is a wonderful, easy thing to do for anyone – it’s luxurious, and you can re-use (sterilize first) all the glass jars you may have, including jam jars.

You can experiment with different oils and even use cocoa butter or coconut oil – the recipe is not super exact, so you will either end up with a thicker or thinner cream depending on the combo of ingredients you use. The only challenging bit is at the end: once you add the water and the oil mixture together in a big bowl you need to stir constantly without a break for 15 or even 20 minutes until it thickens. I’ve learned from experience you can’t shorten this process: if you do, your oil and water won’t mix together properly and you’ll get a really lumpy cream.

What you need to start:

EQUIPMENT – not much, just stuff in a regular kitchen
2 cooking pots that fit into each other (to make a bain marie), 2 big mixing bowls (again, that fit into each other so you can make a bain marie to cool the lotion down faster), a spatula, plenty of glass jars and lids

INGREDIENTS – mostly things you can find at a health food store
your favorite essential oils (organic is best as these can carry chemicals as they are so concentrated), note: benzoin essential oil is great as it acts as a natural sort of preservative, carrier oils (high grade, cold pressed, unrefined and even organic oils are best – olive oil, hemp seed, almond oil, grapeseed oil, macadmia nut oil and in small percentages, you can use rose hip oil, hazelnut oil, wheatgerm oil), emulsifiers to thicken your blend (I use beeswax), and a little time… maybe 30 minutes tops.

RECIPE – feel free to adapt this and see what works best for you

2 cups oils (of choice)
1/3 cup of melted beeswax – if you buy it in chunks lik me, just cut it up first
1/3 cup of cocoa butter or coconut oil
1 cup distilled, or filtered water
about 30 drops of essential oils of your choice (or less if you want just a whiff of scent)

Warm the oil, beeswax and cocoa butter/coconut oil in a double boiler until melted. In another pot heat the water until it’s roughly as hot as the oil (neither should “boil”). Meanwhile put a big bowl into an even larger bowl filled with cold water. This will chill the bowl a bit and cut down on the amount of time you need to spend stirring in the next step. Now pour the oil/beeswax mixture into the big empty bowl and then pour the warm water very slowly into it, stirring constantly. Whip it constantly until it cools so that the water and oil don’t separate. When it’s cool and has become more opaque, stir in essential oils, and let it cool completely. Than spoon it into your clean, dry, sterile jars. I store mine in the fridge, just to help them stay fresh longer.

Big thanks to Jen for sharing this awesome tutorial for Natural Kids Team’s Tutorial Thursday! You can go check out Jen’s shop at