Saturday, August 23, 2008

Easy Peezy Organic Chocolate Cake


1 cup organic flour

1/2 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum free)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1/4 teaspoon organic sea salt

1/3 cup of Agave nectar or 1 cup of organic evaporated cane juice

1 teaspoons of vanilla

3/4 cups organic milk (cow's, almond or rice)

1/3 cup organic coconut oil

1 organic egg

To make it "spiced" add

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 1/2 in round cake pan. Set aside
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, evaporated cane juice, (If you are using agave, wait to add this to the wet ingredients) cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add milk, oil and vanilla. ( Add agave if you are using it.)
  4. Beat well on low speed for 2 minutes. Add egg, beat for 2 more minutes. Spread into pan.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in cake pan on a rack for 10 min. That's it!

I like to put a glaze and fresh organic strawberries on top.

Organic Chocolate Glaze

Melt 4 oz of organic chopped chocolate and 3 tablespoons of organic butter over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Beat in 1 1/2 cups of organic powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of hot water. Stir in more water if you want it thinner.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eco-Friendly Birthday Ideas

My youngest son is going to turn one next month and I find myself pondering the we have a birthday party for him? We have considered the obvious such as, he is too young to realize he is having a party and do we want to spend money on such an event and if so, how much? We have always done something significant to acknowledge the birthdays of our family members because we sincerely see them as a celebration of life. My son has been on our earth for one year and I truly feel blessed to have been chosen as his mother. Yes, this deserves a party!

So, back to square one...what kind of party? We have decided on something small with family and a few close friends. Here are a few ideas that we have come up with to keep this party eco-friendly:
1) Instead of using traditional "paper" invitations we have decided to save a few trees and e-mail our invitations using This is a great website and they have a ton of invitation options to choose from. We even found a "green" them design.
2) Instead of awful latex balloons we have opted for colorful paper lanterns to decorate the area.

3) We have found paperware tableware that is biodegradable and forest friendly. We also found an intersting line of cornware for table settings as well. We found these items at These are great alternatives to your typical plasticware and much easier on our environment. We have also opted for cloth tablecloths and cloth napkins. I am making about 20-30 8x8 cloth napkins out of fabric remnants. These are also great to have at home and use for each meal instead of napkins or paper towels.

4) We are going to serve organic fruits, veggies and trail mix for snacks. We are making an organic chocolate spice cake with a glaze instead of frosting and fruit on top. This is a great alternative to a traditional sugar-loaded cake and healthier too. I'm sure parents will appreciate this! (Lara has this recipe and we will post it for everyone very soon).

5) We are setting up an art/craft table for kids to create a project. We are using eco-friendly paints and supplies that we found at Michaels crafts The kiddos get to take their project home with them and ta-da it's a party favor. No small plastic junk bags here! It's something that they have created and we are not sending them home with candy and useless toys. Hooray!

6) Ooh, gifts can also be an issue. In our particular situation we have decided to include on our invitation, "Please, no gifts." In all honesty, our son does not need anything. We want a simple celebration without unnecessary toys and wrapping paper. Oh the wrapping paper...need I go on? (Although I have seen people who have gotten incredibly creative and used newspaper or fabric to wrap gifts. Awesome idea!)
Another creative gift idea that I have seen for an older child is a family requesting their guests to bring a used toy that they have outgrown. The birthday child and their family donated the toys to an organization of their choice. I really enjoyed this idea of giving back. What a great opportunity to show your children the ability to do something selfless on their birthday and give to someone who may need it more than they do.
Yes, my youngest son is only turning one but as the mother of three children I see this as a great opportunity to teach all of my children the importance of being socially and economically conscious and how to have fun at the same time. We are going to have fun...alot of fun. And in this fun celebration process we are going to save a few trees, cut down on some waste and eat healthier. It really is a simple process, you just have to be a little creative and open-minded. Also, see what ideas you kids have. I am always amazed at how their creative minds work. If you have any other suggestions please share! I will post pictures and let you all know how it goes!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheet Toxic Concerns

At our last meeting Lara spoke briefly about the negative effects of fabric softener. Here is a little more info for everyone.

Fabric softener and dryer sheets are some of the most toxic products around. These products contain chemicals that can cause cancer and brain damage. Some of the chemicals found in fabric softeners and dryer sheets include the following:

Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
Limonene: Known carcinogen A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list
Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

The chemicals in fabric softeners are irritating and strong smelling, thus strong fragrances are added to cover the chemical odors. Fabric softeners are made to stay in your clothing for long periods of time. These chemicals are slowly released either into the air you and your family inhale or absorbed into your skin. Dryer sheets may be even worse for you as they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are then released out into the environment.

Health effects from being exposed to the chemicals in fabric softeners include the following:
Central nervous system disorders
Blood pressure reduction
Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract
Pancreatic cancer

The effects of these chemicals may not be seen today but may occur over time. Make changes to your laundry today. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals. If you still desire a nice smell to your clothing add essential oils that are clear with no coloring as the colored oils may stain your clothing. You will actually save money using alternative methods and find scents that your family enjoys. For example, Lavendar essential oil is wonderful to add to your children's pajamas as it helps soothe and calm them during pre-bedtime routines.

Natural Suggestions to soften your clothing:

Add a quarter cup of baking soda to wash cycle to soften fabric
Add a quarter cup of white vinegar to wash cycle to soften fabric and eliminate cling
Visit your local health food store for a natural fabric softener that uses a natural base instead of chemicals.