Grow a Garden with Us!

GardenSupplies
The sun is shining, the ground is softening and you’re sneezing 100 times a day… must be time to get planting! Our Wellness Department has everything you need to grow whatever you or your family desires.
1. Flexrake garden tools- $8.49. Click here for more information.
2. Garden in. a. bag. by Potting Shed Creations- $9.99. Made in Troy, ID (yea, local!) these cute packages have everything you need to grow a garden. In a bag. To learn more about Potting Shed Creations, visit www.pottingshedcreations.com.
3. The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture by Christopher Shein- $24.95. Once a fringe topic, permaculture is moving to the mainstream as gardeners who are ready to take their organic gardening to the next level are discovering the wisdom of a simple system that emphasizes the idea that by taking care of the earth, the earth takes care of you.
4. Black Owl Organic Biochar- $18.39. Give your soil a boost with this organic biochar. Great for building soil health, retaining nutrients and putting healthy microbes back into soil. For more information click here.
5. Down to Earth Earth Plugs- $10.49. Made from natural plant materials, these 100% biodegradable plugs promote optimum ventilation and hydration for root development.
6. Down to Earth Vegan Mix- $9.99. This all-natural fertilizer is formulated to contain no animal products or by-products.
For these and more, the Moscow Food Co-op has the products you need to grow a healthy garden this year!

Egg Dyeing with Natural Dyes

EggDying1

Egg dyeing is a ton of fun for the whole family, and now with Natural Egg Dye it’s safe too! Made from veggies, fruits and herbs the package of four dyes costs $9.99 in the Wellness Department at the Co-op.
EggDying2
Simply mix the powdered dye with a 1/2 cup of hot water, let eggs soak for 10-20 minutes (depending on the intensity you’re after), then let dry, hide, find and enjoy!
EggDying3

Meet the Makers: Nutritive Body Care

NutritiveBodyCareProducts1

The Co-op is excited to introduce a new skin care line- made right here in Moscow! Nutritive Body Care is handmade in small batches by Kristy Bonner using the best ingredients around. After a conversation with her mother about her frustration trying to find products for her maturing skin, Kristy decided it was up to her to make a natural, organic product line that led to healthier, younger looking skin.
NutritiveBodyCareChristy

Kristy developed Nutritive Body Care, not only to make a safe skincare line for her family, but also to avoid the toxins and synthetic hormones that are in most conventional beauty products today. Kristy has been learning about natural, raw and organic ingredients for close to ten years and it is this knowledge that has led to creating products for her daughter’s eczema, natural salt toothpastes and face and body creams.
NutritiveBodyCareProducts3

“I have plans for a sunscreen/insect repellent lotion for this spring, maybe some lip balm, deodorant, and a rash/bite/scrape ointment,” says Kristy. Her latest ingredient obsession is red raspberry seed oil due to its significant content of nutritive components including essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Look for her expanding line of products in the Co-op’s Wellness Department!

Feel Good Mondays: DIY Cleaning Products

Making your own cleaning products may sounds like a huge time investment, but these simple recipes for everyday household cleaners are easy to make and are free of harsh chemicals and toxins. Because if you have to clean in the first place, why make yourself sick inhaling the nasty conventional stuff?

DIYCleaning1

All-purpose Cleaner
• 1/4 cup baking soda
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 gallon water

 Floor Cleaner
To clean linoleum or vinyl, combine:
• 1 cup vinegar
• 3 drops of baby oil
• 1 gallon of warm water
Apply using a mop or sponge.

 To clean wooden floors, combine:
• 3 cups vinegar
• 3 cups vegetable oil

 Natural Disinfectant
• 4 tablespoons vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap
• 3 cups hot water
Pour into a mist bottle and apply as needed.

 Bathroom Cleaners
• To clean a toilet, add 10 drops tea tree oil and 3 cups white vinegar into the toilet bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
• To clean a shower, fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar. Add liquid detergent for extra strength. Leave the spray for 30 minutes before rinsing off. (Vinegar is an excellent ingredient for homemade cleaners used in bathtubs and showers because unlike soap, vinegar does not leave a residue.)
• A spray bottle filled with club soda makes a perfectly efficient glass cleaner.
• Remove rust stains with a paste made from water and cream of tartar.

 Kitchen Cleaners
For a natural, borax-free dishwasher soap, you will need:
• 1 cup baking soda
• 1/4 c. citric acid
• 1/4 c. coarse salt
• 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil (optional)
Mix first 3 ingredients well in an air tight container. Add essential oil. Mix again.
• To hand wash dishes, use a liquid soap and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar to the soapy water.

 Oven Cleaner
To make a natural oven cleaner, you will need:
• 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
• 1/4 organic white vinegar
• 1.5 cups baking soda
• water, as needed to make a thick, but spreadable, paste
• 2-4 drops essential oil (optional)
Remove the racks from your oven. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Paint the paste over the entire surface of the oven (using an actual paint brush works well). Let the paste sit for 6-8 hours, or overnight. The paste should foam slightly. Fill a bowl with clean water and, using a sponge or scrubber, wipe away the paste. Repeat until there is no white residue and all the grime is wiped away.

CHEMICALS TO AVOID (from National Geographic’s Green Guide):

Ammonia: cuts grease
Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum and known to cause asthma
Green Alternative: vinegar

 Chlorine: disinfects
Why Avoid It: lung and skin irritant, lethal if ingested, releases mercury
Green Alternative: vinegar, lemon juice, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil

 Monoethanolamine: helps cleaners penetrate grime
Why Avoid It: derived from petroleum, irritates respiratory system
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

 Glycol Ethers: dissolve soil
Why Avoid It: causes nerve damage and infertility, air contaminant
Green Alternative: eucalyptus oil

 Alkylphenol Ethoxylates: helps cleaners penetrate grime
Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: soy, corn, or coconut-based surfactants

 Phthalates: synthetic fragrances
Why Avoid It: hormone disruptor, damages fish in US streams
Green Alternative: essential oils, baking soda deodorizers

 Triclosan: disinfectant in antibacterial cleaners
Why Avoid It: forms possible carcinogen, builds up in soil and fish
Green Alternative: hot soapy water, vinegar

Sweet Solutions: Dates

Out Sweet Solutions series is back with information about dates! Dates are one of the most naturally sweet fruits, making them a great alternative to processed sugars. For all you’ve ever wanted to know about dates, keep reading!

AB+JSandwich2

There are many varieties of dates, but medjool dates are used most frequently as sweeteners because they have a sweet caramel flavor, are large and soft, and are usually naturally dried in the sun on the date palm tree (no chemicals added).

Dates are used as sweeteners in a few ways:

  • Fresh dates can be eaten as a sweet snack
  • Dried dates can be eaten whole, roughly chopped up and added to a recipe, or made into a date paste/puree
  • Date syrup is close to the consistency of maple syrup
  • Date sugar is simply dehydrated and ground dates

How are dates different from other sweeteners?

  • 1 serving of dates (4 dates/100 grams) = 277 calories and 66 grams of sugar
  • Dates are one of the only sweeteners that contain a fair amount of nutrients. 1 serving of dates has approximately:
    • Fiber –28% RDA
    • Potassium –19% RDA
    • Copper – 18% RDA
    • Manganese – 15% RDA
    • Magnesium – 13% RDA
    • Vitamin B6 – 10% RDA
    • Iron – 4%
    • Protein – 3%
    • Vitamin A – 2%

(USDA and based on a 2,000 calorie diet)

  • Both dates and table sugar contain glucose and fructose. In dates, these elements are separate and easy to digest. In sugar, they are combined to make sucrose which requires our body to use more enzymes to break down and use it as energy.
  • Date sugar can be used as a 1:1 substitute for brown sugar as it has caramel notes that are more akin to brown than white sugar.

Pros

  • Dates are raw/unprocessed and naturally dry on the fruit trees
  •  The soluble and insoluble dietary fiber in dates offers both digestive and cardiovascular benefits. Soluble fiber acts to slow the pace of carbohydrate breakdown and lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber can help promote regular bowel movements.
  • Date puree and date sugar are quite versatile in use and can be made at home or bought prepared at the store.
  • Although there is a reduction in antioxidant content upon drying, dates are still considered a good source of antioxidants compared to other dried fruits.
  • Dates are also fat free.

Cons

  • The sugar in dates is absorbed very quickly, and there’s a lot of it. The blood sugar spike resulting from eating dates is almost as strong as eating a spoonful of sugar. This is great if you need energy, but can be troublesome if you aren’t readily using the energy.
  • Date sugar does not melt well, which results in flecks of brown in the final product – date puree melts/dissolves much better though.
  • Date puree can be a substitute for sugar or other syrup sweeteners such as maple syrup, but there is no set ratio. There is a great deal of experimenting that is required to replace traditional sweeteners in a recipe with this alternative.
  • The fruit naturally has a relatively high glycemic index, given the amount of sugar it contains. Those already afflicted with diabetes will have to really limit their consumption of dates or avoid it altogether.

Feel Good Mondays: DIY Linen Spray

DIYLinenSpray

If you’re feeling like your home and everything in it could use a little refresher, then take notice! This recipe for a simple linen and room spray is the perfect concoction to get rid of the winter blues and usher in the bright light and fresh air of spring. While lavender has been shown to have a calming effect, if you absolutely hate lavender, then by all means use something that doesn’t make you ill! We like to use a mix of bergamot and lavender, for a nice note of citrus. To make this spray you’ll need:

a spray bottle
distilled water (make sure it is distilled, as water that is not distilled can leave spots on linens)
25-35 drops of essential oil (per 1 1/2 cups of distilled water)

This makes a great hostess or housewarming gift too!

Beet Read: This is Hope: Vegans and the New Human Ecology

This-Is-Hope-book-cover

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

Join us in reading the March Co-op Good Food Book Club book, This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology (2013) by Will Anderson. The Book Club will meet Sunday, March 30, from 6:00-7:30 at a member’s private residence to discuss This Is Hope. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

“Our current human ecology is characterized by a worldview that asserts we have dominion over all the Earth. It believes that Earth is here for our purposes and that all other species are below and inferior to us,” writes Will Anderson in his paradigm-shifting new book. But he goes on to explain that:

“The new human ecology … incorporates and expands upon deep ecology (which) recognizes that all species, individuals of these species, and their ecosystems have intrinsic value. This is the biocentric perspective. Deep ecology is explicitly present throughout the new human ecology and missing from the current human ecology.”

In fact, the “new human ecology” is far more aligned with the “true” human ecology than our current paradigm of dominion. Humans, quite simply, are intertwined with the rest of life on Earth. Both definitions (the “current” versus the “new”) are human, cultural constructs.  To construct a culture of dominion, and then fail to respond to our own, acquired scientific understanding of our profound interconnection with all life, is perilous at best. If we want a thriving, healthy future, it’s high time we adopt a truer model of what works for the long-term sustainability and health of humanity and the rest of life on Earth.  To that end, this book explains the immense power and benefits of adopting a vegan diet.

It is a pivotal reference for anyone wanting to “Spring Into Action” (as per the March theme). As Toni Frohoff, wildlife management scientist writes, “Finally! A MUST READ for anyone seeking a practical planetary path from the current trajectory of death and desperation to one that truly engages and embraces hope for all species. This book provides a pioneering path for those who truly want to be the change we want – and need – to see in this world. As we collectively experience this never-before era of one species empowered to make it or break it for all, we now have HOPE to survive together. “

Please join us to discuss This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology (2013) by Will Anderson Sunday, March 30 from 6:00-7:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. This is Hope by Will Anderson is available through your local library.  If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at www.moscowfood.coop.

Eating the Rainbow

VeggieRainbowIf you’re a kid, it’s recommended that you consume 20 cups of fruits and veggies a week, coming to just over 1,000 cups per year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. But the difference between recommendations and actual practice is pretty stark—a study conducted by the National Fruits and Vegetable Alliance found that kids ages 2-12 were actually consuming only 200-300 cups a year. While the sheer quantity of fruits and vegetables is important to achieve, it’s also important not to overlook the variety of produce—and therefore, the variety of nutrients—your child is eating.

But don’t panic. It’s actually really easy to introduce kids to fruits and vegetables, especially if you know a couple tricks of the trade. At the Co-op, our weekly playgroup Co-op Kids utilizes an excellent method that’s been proven to trump even the pickiest of eaters. It’s called “Eat the Rainbow” and it encourages kids to use their senses, including their sense of adventure, to try different foods that are separated by color. This lesson has been quite successful, and to our surprise, the kids latched on to some of the more unique items like toasted seaweed, edamame and herbal tea.

Here are some of our rainbow-inspired foods:

Red: red bell peppers, strawberries, tomato soup, cherry tomatoes, radishes and cranberry juice
Orange: sweet potato chips, carrots, orange bell peppers, dried papaya, cheddar cheese and tangerine herbal tea
Yellow: applesauce, corn, yellow summer squash, yellow bell peppers, yellow pear tomatoes, dried mango, pineapple and lemon slices in water
Green: toasted seaweed, celery, green apple, kiwi, edamame, peppermint tea, baked snap pea crisps, cucumber slices and a leaf tasting with spinach, basil, butter lettuce and bok choy
Purple: beet chips, purple cabbage, eggplant, plums, huckleberries and purple grapes
White: cauliflower, jicama, parsnips, button mushrooms and fennel

Tips:
Start small! When trying out new, exciting foods with kids, it’s natural for them to reject a few of the items you give them, regardless of how fun you make it. For this reason, we encourage parents to purchase smaller amounts of items when possible. Salad bars are a great place to start, as they often feature a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and grains to choose from. For instance, the Co-op salad bar features items like edamame, pickled red onion, beets with mint, spinach and sliced bell peppers.
Make Rainbow Rice! Cook up some brown rice and let kids add vegetables to it, naming the colors along the way. Some favorites include corn, peas, cauliflower, purple cabbage, broccoli and red pepper. For fun, vibrant colors, steam the vegetables before adding to the rice. During colder months, this technique can be applied to Rainbow Soup, letting kids choose their own vegetables and beans to add to the stock.
Dip it! Even the pickiest eaters like to dunk their food in sauces, dips, and spreads. Providing an array of dips and spreads makes trying new foods fun while empowering the child to make choices. Try serving cut vegetables with almond butter, hummus or a mixture of applesauce, cinnamon and wheat germ.
Use your senses! The eating experience is so much more than just taste. Encourage kids to describe the texture and smell of each new food they try, and then when they taste it, ask them to make a comparison. Does star fruit taste a little like grapes? Do sweet potato chunks look like carrots? Making comparisons to fruits and vegetables the child already enjoys will encourage them to accept the new food.

This article, written by Sarah MacDonald, originally appeared in tag magazine on February 26, 2014.

All About Citrus

CitrusGuide

Health Benefits of Citrus: Not only vibrant and pleasing to the eye, citrus has been adding nutritional benefits to diets for centuries. Mostly known for its wealth of vitamin C, citrus is loaded with plenty of other dietary advantages as well. The vitamin C available in citrus allows for iron absorption from other foods consumed. Citrus is also a great source of soluble fiber, so it’s a great option for reducing spikes in blood sugar levels. With their high levels of antioxidants, citrus fruits are a great at reducing inflammation. To be sure to enjoy the most benefits of citrus, opt for eating the whole fruit, rather than just drinking juice.

 1.      Cara Cara Orange: Characterized by pinkish flesh, Cara Cara oranges are part of the navel family. They are seedless, low in acidity and high in sweetness and juice. People often note how the tanginess is similar to that of cranberries. Serve as wedges or use the juice to make a vinaigrette.

2.      Valencia Orange: Named for the city in Spain, Valencia oranges are characterized by their sweet flavor and bright colored juice that other citrus fruits don’t have. Because of the brightness of their juice, Valencia oranges are usually used to make bottled juices available in grocery stores.

3.      Meyer Lemon: Meyer lemons, with their soft skin, are sweeter and less acidic than other lemons. The mild sweetness comes from a bit of mandarin orange in their family tree. Meyer lemons make extremely flavorful lemonade, salad dressings, lemon bars and lemon curd.

4.      Murcott Tangerine: Tangerines are marked by their bright orange skin and their smaller size. They are most often peeled and eaten out of hand, but also make a great addition to a fresh salad.

5.      Minneola Tangelo: Minneola Tangelos are a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. They are characterized by their bell shape and mildly sweet and tart flavor. They have a reddish-orange skin which is easy to peel and are seedless, making them great to cook with. Because of their sweetness they made a great addition to baked goods like cakes and scones.

6.      Red Grapefruit: Red grapefruits are both sweet and tart and are a great way to start the day. They get their vibrant color from the antioxidant lycopene which is great cardiovascular health. Enjoy grapefruits by juicing them (but be aware of any effect it may have on medications) or by eating their segments.

7.      Navel Orange: Navel oranges can be easily spotted by the button formation on the opposite side of the stem. They are a seedless variety of orange and are typically very juicy. They make a great addition to salads and make great jam or marmalade.

8.      Blood Orange: Blood oranges, named for their deep red flesh, have thin skin, usually with deep in orange color or with hints of red. Because their flavor is deep and their color is so enticing they are great for cocktails, like mimosas, which show off their jewel-like tones.

Fungus Among Us: Mushrooms, Part 2

MushroomCollage1
featured from left to right: brown beech, white beech, white button, portabello

There are an unbelievable amount of mushrooms available in the store right now. And while you might be frightened by the looks of some of them, rest assured, they’re all delicious and filled with phytonutrients. Here’s some basic information about them and some ideas for how to use them.

Brown and White Beech:  Beech mushrooms, or Bunashimeji, have a nutty, buttery flavor, and a firm, crunchy texture. The mushrooms grow in clusters and produce tender caps. These mushrooms tend to be a little more bitter than other mushrooms, but cooking will mellow the flavor. They are packed with immune-boosting phytonutrients. They have also been shown to lower triglycerides, or fat in the blood. They make a great addition to a stir-fry when cooked with lots of garlic.

White Button: Probably the most cultivated mushroom and most commonly seen in groceries stores. Because they are harvested so early in their growth (let them grow longer and you get cremini mushrooms), they are extremely firm and mild in flavor. They are a great source of potassium (actually higher than a banana!) and also help reduce levels of estrogen (an over-abundance of estrogen can lead to breast cancer). They’re delicious when sauteed with white wine and garlic and also make a great appetizer when stuffed with herbs and goat cheese.

Portobello: Portobello mushrooms are actually in the most mature stage of growth (they start as button, turn to cremini and then grow into portobellos). They make an attractive meat substitute to vegetarians because of they’re hearty texture and deep flavor. They are often used instead of steak of hamburger patties as a low fat, nutrient rich option.