Healthy Babies!

To a mother, there is nothing more important than the health and safety of her children. What they eat, where they play, what their little eyes see…it’s a constant worry and factor in the decisions we make. I love learning new ways to improve my children’s lives, which is what I’d like to share with you today!

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I recently joined Seventh Generation’s “Generation Good” online community, which provides a forum for like-minded people to share tips and information on raising our little ones in a clean and safe environment. This is a HUGE priority for me, Continue reading

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DIY Yogurt cups

There are two things trending in the Bowers’ household right now:

1. Going green, and

2. Going healthy.

As I’m finding out, making changes in our lives for purposes of one of these things actually helps the other as well. I love multi-tasking.

One example of this is making our own Greek yogurt cups with fruit on the bottom. We love Greek yogurt for its taste and its health benefits. But darn it: those little cups of it are quite pricey. At best, we can find them for $1 each when they are on sale. And while Greek yogurt is good for the body in many ways, I’m not sold on the health benefits of the “fruit” on the bottom of these little containers. Plus, that’s a lot of waste for just a little bit of food. Something clicked when I saw a picture of a yogurt parfait in our gym’s monthly newsletter: it would be so easy to make our own fruit on the bottom yogurts! The health and environmental benefits were obvious…and I had a sneaky feeling there would be a financial advantage too.

The whole process was surprisingly very easy. I got 12 of these 4 oz. jelly jars from Wal-Mart:

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The jars cost $7.97 for all 12 of them, so about $0.70 each (including a mark up for sales tax). Thirty-two ounces of Chobani Greek yogurt was $5.99 (just under $0.19 per ounce). I got a frozen bag of blackberries (about 2.5 cups of fruit) for $2.99. I already had the remaining two ingredients (honey and water).

After I washed and dried the jelly jars, I combined 1 1/2 cups of frozen blackberries, 3 tablespoons of honey and 9 tablespoons of water in a blender. After the mixture was a nice and smooth consistency, I added 1 tablespoon of the fruit mixture to the bottom of each of the jelly jars.

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I then topped it off with about 3.5 ounces of the Greek yogurt (about a half of a cup). The result: homemade, healthy cuteness:

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And what were the financial results of all this? The total cost of each jar of yogurt was $1.51, BUT that includes the cost of the jar, a one time investment. Not including the $.70 per jar, the cost of each was $0.81, about $0.44 lower than the national average price of $1.25 per container for the above-mentioned disposable cups. The store-bought containers do have a size advantage though: they hold 5.2 ounces compared to 4 ounces in the glass jars. However, that equates to about $0.24 per ounce for store-bought, versus $0.20 per ounce for homemade. Small difference, but depending on how many your household goes through a year, that could equal big savings.

So, which is better? Homemade, lower cost, eco-friendly yogurt cups (of which I know all the ingredients), or the convenience of brand-name cups with a bigger variety of  mystery “fruit” from the supermarket? In my opinion, the easy winner of this smack-down is the homemade version. My taste buds agree!

Hey there, Pumpkin!

There are many things I love about fall (football games, the weather and boots, to name a few), but there is one thing that I consider to be the quintessential element to the perfect fall: pumpkin. Whether they’re being used as decoration or as the scene-stealing ingredient in food and beverages, pumpkins announce that the most colorful (and, in my opinion, the most wonderful) season of the year is in full swing.

Every year, I gleefully purchase a half-dozen cans of pumpkin, dreaming all the way home about my big plans to make pies, cookies and other pumkin-y delights. And every year, I maybe use one or two of these cans because, you know, even the best made plans can fray when life gets too busy (or I remind myself that I just don’t have it in me to make a pumpkin pie). As a result, I have a small stockpile of cans of pumpkin, a few of which expire and are thrown away every year. Since I resolved in 2012 to stop being so wasteful, I decided to finally use these cans of pumpkin. And why not use them in late winter / early spring? I love the flavor of pumpkin, any time of year.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my husband and I did, and I really hope that you get as excited as I did when I realized that pumpkin can be eaten every meal of the day (including breakfast) and used in much more than desserts.

1. Start your day off right with pumpkin oatmeal. De-lish.

2. Two ingredient pumpkin cake. Desserts don’t come much simpler than that.

3. Pumpkin + chili = I’m making this all the time.

4. And finally, a Bowers original: one-step pumpkin cream cheese schmear. I think this rivals Einstein Bagel’s version (but I might be biased).

Pumpkin Schmear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– 8 oz. package of light cream cheese
– 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
– 2 Tbsp. brown sugar (not packed)
– 2 Tbsp. skim milk
– 1 tsp. nutmeg
– 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whip until cream cheese is smooth and free of lumps.

2. Optional – put on toasted bagel or crusty bread. Eating straight from the bowl is also acceptable.