#Vegetarian Whole Wheat, Flax and Oatmeal Super Muffin #Recipe

A vegetarian muffin recipe that is chocked full of fiber with flax, whole wheat flour and oatmeal. Add fruit and nuts for more fiber content.

Frustrated by not finding a recipe that was chocked full of fiber, yet still simple to put together; I created my own fiber rich vegetarian recipe. Feel free to adapt or add fruit and/or nuts. This recipe could also easily be adaptable to a vegan muffin recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup ground flax

1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1-2 tsp. sweetener (brown sugar)

1 egg

1 cup Soy milk (or vanilla soy milk)

1/4 cup Greek nonfat yogurt

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Mix dry ingredients. Set aside
2. Beat egg slightly. Add yogurt and milk.
3. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until moistened.
4. Spray muffin cups with oil.
5. Fill muffin cups 1/2- 3/4 way full, depending on desired muffin size.
6. Bake 11-15 minutes. Muffins are done when inserted toothpick comes out clean.

FDA Considers #BPA Ban on Canned Foods Although Not Proven Harmful to Humans

Bisphenol-A, BPA, used in many plastic food containers as well as food and beverage can linings is being investigated for a possible ban. The FDA is working under a March 31, 2012 court ordered deadline asking for a petition to regulate the banning of BPA when used in food containers. BPA, when used in canned goods, extends the life of the food/beverage in the container, however, it has come under scrutiny about its safety for human consumption.

Currently, there is no other alternative for preserving canned food and beverages that has been tested and safe for human consumption. Although several larger research studies have found that “under normal consumer use” there are no harmful effects of BPA on humans, there have been some studies on animals where BPA has had some negative effects.

Read the entire article on Forbes.com.

Personally, I still do not trust the coatings in many canned foods, however, I do still rely on many canned items for sustenance. I haven’t had the opportunity to begin canning my own foods yet either, but as far as safety goes, this may be the year I start.

St. Patrick’s Day – 5 Great Ways to Live a #Greener Life

Plant a garden with flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! One of my favorite holidays, not only for the color, but also to celebrate the Irish heritage.

Uncommonly warm and sunny in the middle of March in Ohio, St. Patrick’s Day inspires me to truly think & be green today – the greenest day of the year!

5 Ways you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Live a Greener Life

1. Start a garden. March is the month to start planting seeds, repot last year’s houseplants, prep the ground (or planters) for your summer garden. visit your local greenhouse to answer questions about what you should plant and where. Living in an apartment with only the morning sun on my balcony does limit what I can plant; however, greens like lettuce, spinach and kale will fare well in mostly shade. Assess your space whether it’s a 8′ x 12′ plot in your backyard or a 6 foot cement patio, you can still fill your space with plenty of fresh herbs and veggies that will be ready when the summer heat hits.

2. Volunteer with a community garden. Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb (sometimes I wonder myself), there are plenty of tasks to do to keep a garden green and growing all season long. There’s weeds to pluck, seeds to plant, and oftentimes community gardens accept veggie scraps and leaves for the compost. Get your kids involved too. Ask around about community gardens, look in the newspaper or call your local city hall to find the nearest community garden. Urban gardens are sprouting up, literally, where abandoned houses and parking lots used to be. In my area, I’m just tickled green to see another fenced in garden in the most run-down neighborhoods. That’s urban development in the most greenest sense to me!

3. Start a compost. Thinking green, invest in creating or buying a composter for your kitchen or backyard. Amazon has
countertop compost bins if you don’t have space or the time to have one outside. Use the compost in potted plants, your garden, your neighbor or community garden. The nutrients combined with soil will yield better and organic crops. Read more about how to use compost in your garden here. Worm bins are also a great alternative to using indoor compost bins and buckets. Of course, you’ll  need worms and some soil, but worm poop is the best organic fertilizer for your plants and if you take care of “feeding” the red wrigglers, you won’t have to endure the stink of their process either.

4.  Eat more plant based food. Have you noticed the rising cost of food lately? Meat, especially pork, will continue to rise in price throughout 2012 and beyond. Do yourself, your health and your family some good and reduce the amount of animal products in your diet. Plant based diets are easily digestible, contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep all your organs working properly. Start simply, eliminate one animal based meal a week with a vegetable or grain entree. Two of the 3 main meals I eat daily do not contain meat or animal by-products.  I buy tofu (soybean) based products as well as whole grains to replace the protein found in meats.

5. Buy local. Local farms and roadside stands are more abundant or maybe as abundant as they were 30 years ago. Buying local seasonal foods decreases fuel costs, lessens exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides and puts your hard earned wages back into the community. Check out this resource to find a list of local farms in your area, LocalHarvest.org

I could go on and list more, but I know you really want to get out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and I have some Irish recipes to tend to today, so enjoy this great Green day.

Go Irish!

#Plastic News: Biomass Packaging Adds Modular, Single-Serve Food Packaging Made from Ingeo

California’s Excellent Packaging adds crystal-clear modular, single-serve cold cups, lids to its line of compostable food service products; packaging is made entirely from NatureWorks’ PLA-based Ingeo biopolymer.

Source: PRWeb.com

California’s Excellent Packaging adds crystal-clear modular, single-serve cold cups, lids to its line of compostable foodservice products; packaging is made entirely from NatureWorks’ PLA-based Ingeo biopolymer.

RICHMOND, California, February 29, 2012 (press release) – BioMass Packaging®, a division of Excellent Packaging, an innovator and wholesale distributor of sustainable, biodegradable, and nature-based packaging for foodservice and other applications, has added modular, single-serve food containers, to its line of compostable foodservice solutions. Made entirely from NatureWorks® Ingeo biopolymer — a PLA-based material — the new Greenware® crystal-clear cold cups and lids transform a regular cup into a versatile food packaging carry-all, giving foodservice operators endless possibilities for merchandising breakfast foods, lunch combos, and all-day snacks.

Fresh and nutritious snack foods and small meals are increasingly popular with busy, on-the-go consumers, who expect to find appealing grab-and-go foods in their favorite coffee shop, convenience store, supermarket or hotel snack shop. Snacks and meals such as parfait+granola+fruit combos, fruit+yogurt, chips+salsa, and salad+croutons+dressing, are now easy to package and present with BioMass Packaging’s modular system, which consists of a basic cup, an insert with a secure lid, and either a flat or domed lid that snaps on tight.

“There has never before been a cup insert made from Ingeo, and this has prevented food service operators who use green and bio-based packaging from offering grab-and-go combinations to their customers. Now, they can increase profitability while meeting their commitment to sustainability,” said Allen King, president of California-based Excellent Packaging, the exclusive North American distributor of the new cups and inserts. “What’s great about this modular system is that it can be used to present foods that need to be combined just before eating, in a convenient, sustainable, nature-based package. This attractive packaging solution delivers a really eye-catching food presentation — we think it’s going to be a huge hit with hotels, delis, coffee shops and supermarkets.”

An executive chef at a five-star hotel in Truckee, California, that is piloting the new cups, inserts and domed lids, sees their potential for broadening the hotel’s range of foods. “The customers at our casual dining restaurant are often looking for a quick and nutritious meal they can grab without sitting down for table service, or to consume later. We’re now offering parfaits in this new packaging, and if these are successful, we expect to expand to include salads, fruits and cheeses. Being in Lake Tahoe, guests expect us to use environmentally friendly packaging, and this was a key criterion when we selected these cups.”

Flexible system addresses the needs of any food service operation:
■ Up to three different ingredients can be offered in one grab-and-go format
■ Cup insert works with multiple cup and lid sizes to enable endless menu options
■ The insert may be flush-filled and covered with a flat lid, or covered with a dome lid that can also be filled with a meal ingredient
■ Inserts are suitable for heat sealing with most cup sizes
■ Custom notch design allows for easy insert removal
■ Compostable – every element of the packaging is made from plant-based Ingeo PLA plastic.

Presentation and availability
The new Ingeo-based cups and inserts are sold in cases of 1,000 units and are available for immediate delivery. They can be ordered wholesale direct from Excellent Packaging or from the company’s BiomassPackagingStore.com online store. To learn more about the comprehensive range of bio-based, sustainable foodservice packaging products offered by Excellent Packaging, or to enquire about volume pricing, call (800) 317-2737 or email sales@excellentpackaging.com. A PDF-format brochure is available online.

About BioMass Packaging
BioMass Packaging (http://www.biomasspackaging.com) specializes in offering sustainable packaging solutions for foodservice operators that want to reduce their impact on the environment. The company is a division of Excellent Packaging (http://www.excellentpackaging.com), a wholesale distribution company that specializes in nature-based packaging for foodservice and other applications. Excellent Packaging brings decades of experience to research, source and deliver custom bio-based and traditional packaging and foodservice products that enable companies to integrate sustainable foodservice solutions into their business. Follow us on Facebook (BioMassPackaging) and Twitter (@BioMassPackage).

Recycle 6 Pack Plastic Rings into Useful Tote

I am looking for directions how to make a bag out of 6 pack plastic rings like those on soda and beer. I know I have seen someone do this, but can’t remember what is used to hold the rings together and how to make the handle.

If you have a link or directions, I’d appreciate it…I will post here so my readers can use it too.

Don’t want have the creative flair to make a recycled craft from plastic soda rings? Then do be kind to animals, and cut through all the circles to prevent turtles and other animals from becoming caught in them or thinking they are food and choking them. See a video here about deformed turtles caught in plastic rings.

In the meantime, I came across a few helpful recycled craft links.

My suggestions for recycled crafts – recycle it, don’t trash it!

My Recycled Bags

Ways to Reuse Plastic Rings from eHow

6 Pack Ring Chandeliers and Snowflakes from Pakit Products