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Turn Real Fall Leaves into Seasonal Art

Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Leaf Art iStockDo you have a lot of leaves gathering in your yard? It is possible to take some of those leaves and make them into art. Turn this activity into something your whole family participates in. The fall art you create can become inexpensive seasonal decorations.

Gather up some Leaves
The first step is to gather up some fall leaves. You will probably be able to find them in your yard. If not, then take a walk and collect up a few leaves as you go. Unlike spring flowers, no one will be upset that you took a few of their fall leaves with you! If anything, you saved them a little bit of work.

Ideally, you want to look for leaves that have not completely dried out. Choose the ones that have a little “give” to them. Leaves that are really brittle might not work out as well in an art project.

Crayon Leaf Rubbings
This form of fall art is so easy that even small children can do it. You will need some paper. The type of paper doesn’t really matter so long as it is thin. You can use construction paper, the paper the goes into your printer, or even yesterday’s newspaper. The print and ads in the newspaper will contrast with the leaf rubbings in an interesting way.

You will also need some crayons. The color doesn’t matter as all will work just as well. Pick fall colors like red, yellow, orange, and brown. Or, use some colors that happen to be your favorites.

Put a leaf on the table. Make sure the leaf is lying on its front. You want the back side, with the deeper “veins” to be facing up. Lay a piece of paper over the leaf. Hold the paper steady and use the side of a crayon to color over the leaf. This “rubbing” should pick up the texture and shape of the leaf. Move the paper around to make lots leaf rubbings.

“Stained Glass” Leaf Art
Creative Bug has instructions on how to take fall leaves and wax paper and make it into art. It won’t look like real stained glass, but it will look good when hung on a window with the sunlight shining through it.

You will need some fall leaves that are not completely dried out. Choose some that are in different colors, or pick several of the same shade. Put the leaves in between two sheets of wax paper. In short, you will be ironing the two pieces of wax paper so that they seal the leaves inside it. Children can place the leaves, but adults should be the one to use the iron.

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Pumpkin Seeds are a Healthy Snack

Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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pumpkin seeds istockFall includes several different kinds of snack foods and many of them are pumpkin flavored. That doesn’t always mean that all holiday snacks are healthy (or that the truly do contain pumpkin). One really healthy fall snack option is pumpkin seeds. The are easy to get, can be eaten either raw or cooked, and are a nutritious alternative to the other “pumpkin” snacks that are out there.

Pumpkin seeds are nutritious.
According to LiveStrong, a one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds has about 8.5 grams of protein. That means that a handful of pumpkin seeds provides 15% of the daily protein requirement for men and 18% of the daily protein requirement for women.

That same handful of pumpkin seeds is low carb. It contains only 4 grams of carbs, and about half of those carbs come from fiber. This is important because fiber helps people to feel full and it also aids digestion.

Believe it or not, pumpkin seeds also contain some fat. But, they are “good fats”. Pumpkin seeds have mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats, which are good for your heart. One thing to watch out for with pumpkin seeds is the calories they contain. A one ounce serving contains 163 calories. Keep that in mind if you include pumpkin seeds in a trail mix.

Where to find pumpkin seeds
It is possible to buy packages of uncooked pumpkin seeds at the grocery store. Sometimes, the bags will say “pepitas”, which is Spanish for “pumpkin seeds”. Make sure you read the food label. It is the easiest way to check and see what ingredients have been added to the pumpkin seeds. Ideally, you want to find a product that contains only pumpkin seeds and maybe a little bit of salt.

The best way to find pumpkin seeds is inside the pumpkins that are sold at the grocery store. This works great for families that like to carve their pumpkins. Typically, carved pumpkins are a Halloween decoration, but some people carve pumpkins as fall decorations.

Those who are unfamiliar with how to carve a pumpkin should check out the step-by-step guide at Simply Recipes. There are photos for each step in the process. They suggest using a colander to help separate the pumpkin seeds from the “goop”.

How to roast pumpkin seeds
Allrecipes has a really simple recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. You need 1 and a half cups of raw whole pumpkin seeds. The recipe calls for 1 pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of butter. (You could opt-out of the salt if you prefer).

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pumpkin seeds into a bowl. Pour the melted butter (and salt) over them and shake them up. Next, place the seeds on a single layer baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes (or until they turn golden brown).

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Save 20% off Fresh Apples ~ This Week Only!

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 10:31 am
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saving star healthy offer

It’s Tuesday! Time to load this week’s Healthy Offer of the Week from Saving Star to your account! This week, Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Apples at participating retailers. 

See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer. Expires 9/29/2014.

*** NEW*** SavingStar can now be used at Walmart, Target, Kmart, Meijer, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and WinCo! Simply download their app for iPhone or Android and upload your receipt to get cash back when you shop at any of these stores!

See a list of ALL participating stores HERE.

 

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What is in Candy Corn?

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 2:04 pm
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Candy CornHave you seen the new packages of candy corn? This year, some are emphasizing that they contain honey. The implication is that the candy corn is an all-natural treat. The reality is that candy corn may contain some natural ingredients, but there are other things in it that you may want to consider.

Brach’s is the name of the company that makes the famous candy corn. There may be “knock offs” out there (whose ingredient lists may differ.) It is true that Brach’s candy corn is sweetened with honey. Here is the full list of ingredients:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Salt, Honey, Dextrose, Artificial Flavor, Gelatin, Titanium Dioxide Color, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 3, Blue 1, Sesame Oil.

It is also worth knowing that the candy is packaged on equipment that also packages products that contain traces of milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and/or soy protein. This is something to consider if you, your child, or other family members have food allergies. Another potential danger for those with food allergies is the “natural flavors” that are in the candy. There is no way to know, for certain, exactly what foods those “natural flavors” came from!

If the candy corn seems safe for you and your family, go ahead and enjoy it. Many people feel that it is ok to eat a less-than-healthy treat if it is one that is seasonal. It isn’t something that you can eat all year long, so it cannot become a “go-to” snack.

What if you aren’t pleased with the ingredients in the candy corn? There are some alternatives. Several websites have posted recipes that people can use to make their very own candy corn. When you make something at home, you get a lot of control over the ingredients that go into it.

Instructables has a step-by-step guide, with photos, that will walk you through how to make your own candy corn at home. Their version is described as fresh, slightly softer than the store-bought candy corn, and lacking the wax coating that is typically on each piece of candy corn. It is said to taste the same, though.

Alton Brown, at Food Network, has a recipe for candy corn that makes 60 to 80 pieces. The recipe is at the “intermediate level”. This recipe does not use honey – it uses light corn syrup instead. If you feel that your kitchen and cooking skills are can be described as “intermediate”, go ahead and give this recipe a try. If not, it might be best to go with the Instructables recipe.

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Save 20% on Fresh Avocados ~ This Week Only

Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 9:25 am
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saving star healthy offer

It’s Tuesday! Time to load this week’s Healthy Offer of the Week from Saving Star to your account! This week, Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Avocados at participating retailers. 

See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer. Expires 9/22/2014.

*** NEW*** SavingStar can now be used at Walmart, Target, Kmart, Meijer, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and WinCo! Simply download their app for iPhone or Android and upload your receipt to get cash back when you shop at any of these stores!

See a list of ALL participating stores HERE.

Posted in: Grocery Coupons, Natural Foods | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Organic BerryCart Cash-Back Offers: Kombucha, Coconut Ice Cream, Soy Butter & More

Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 9:46 am
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BerryCart

Want to earn CASH BACK for buying healthy products that are organic, Non-GMO or gluten-free? Download the new app called BerryCart. It’s very similar to IbottaCheckout51 and Shopmium, but finally offers us cash back on healthier options! You’ll find these products at Whole Foods, Sprout’s Farmers Market and more!

Here is an example of some of the offers currently available (offers will vary by account):

LIVE Kombucha

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About the offer:

$.75 off rebate on any 8.5 fl oz flavor bottle or 8-pack.

About the product:

​ Raw | Organic | Non-GMO | Fair Trade

LIVE Kombucha is unique in that it blends the health-benefits of Kombucha with the flavors that soda-lovers enjoy.

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NadoMoo Coconut Ice Cream

About the offer:

$.75 off rebate on any pint sized flavor

About the product:

Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Organic | Gluten-Free | Soy-Free

NadaMoo Coconut Ice Cream is made without dairy, eggs, or sugar. It is made with delicious coconut milk, tapioca, agave nectar, and other good stuff.

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Don’t Go Nuts SOY BUTTER

About the offer:

$.75 off any flavor of Soy Butter 16oz jar.

About the product:

Vegan | Nut Free | Organic | Non-GMO

 

 

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Things to Know About Lupin

Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 5:51 pm
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lupin iStockYou may have seen news articles that talk about something called lupin. What is that? The news isn’t about the Harry Potter character with that surname, and it has nothing to do with wolves. Instead, it is a natural food that some people are having an allergic reaction to. Here’s what you need to know about lupin.

What is lupin?
Lupin (which may also be spelled lupine) is a food. It is a type of legume that belongs to the same food family as peanuts. Lupin isn’t something new. It is a commonly used food in some cultures in Europe and Asia. Recently, lupin has started appearing in certain types of food products in the United States.

Lupin is used to make lupin flour and lupin protein. You can also eat lupin as a whole bean.

What is the concern about lupin?
For many people, there is no reason to be concerned about lupin. It is safe for most people to eat. Lupin is a high source of plant proteins and dietary fiber. It is cholesterol free and said to be easily digestible.

That being said, there are some people who are having an allergic reaction to lupin (on its own or when it an ingredient in other foods). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that studies show that people who have an existing legume allergy can experience an allergic reaction to lupin. People who have a peanut allergy appear to have a greater chance of being allergic to lupin. It is also worth noting that there are some people who may develop an allergy to lupin over time, and with exposure. (That’s true of most food allergies).

Lupin and Gluten-free foods
Lupin itself is gluten-free. So are all the other fruits and vegetables (unless something containing gluten has been intentionally added to them). However, there is a connection between lupin allergies and gluten-free foods. Lupin is a good substitute for gluten-containing flours. Therefore, you may find it in packaged gluten-free foods.

Read the Labels
The FDA says that law requires food labels to list the product’s ingredients. Make sure you read the food label before you purchase a product. Look for “lupin” or “lupine” in the ingredients list. If you feel that you, or a family member, might have an allergic reaction to lupin, it may be best to put that product back on the shelf and choose an alternative one.

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Save 20% on Fresh Oranges ~ This Week Only

Posted on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 9:32 am
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saving star healthy offer

It’s Tuesday! Time to load this week’s Healthy Offer of the Week from Saving Star to your account! This week, Save 20% on any single purchase of loose Oranges at participating retailers. 

See offer info for complete details. Check back every Tuesday for a new Healthy Offer. Expires 9/15/2014.

*** NEW*** SavingStar can now be used at Walmart, Target, Kmart, Meijer, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and WinCo! Simply download their app for iPhone or Android and upload your receipt to get cash back when you shop at any of these stores!

See a list of ALL participating stores HERE.

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New Healthy BerryCart Cash-Back Offers: Brothers Snacks, Glutenfreeda Granola & Burritos & More

Posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 9:42 am
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BerryCart

Want to earn CASH BACK for buying healthy products that are organic, Non-GMO or gluten-free? Download the new app called BerryCart. It’s very similar to IbottaCheckout51 and Shopmium, but finally offers us cash back on healthier options! You’ll find these products at Whole Foods, Sprout’s Farmers Market and more!

Here is an example of some of the offers currently available (offers will vary by account):

Brothers All Natural Fruit Clusters

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About the offer:

$.75 off rebate on any 1.25oz flavor bag

About the product:

​Gluten Free | Non-GMO | Soy Free | Nut Free | Vegan | Kosher Certified

Fruit clusters are made from fruits that have been picked at the peak of ripeness and their colors come

directly from the fruit, no added dyes or colors.

 

Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps

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About the offer:

$.50 off rebate on any flavor of .35oz bag

About the product:

Gluten Free | Vegan | Soy Free | Nut Free | Allergen Free | Kosher Certified

Fruit crisps are not baked, dehydrated, not sweetened dried but are freeze dried in which the nutrition of the fruit is retained and the basic cell structure remains intact.

 

Glutenfreeda Granola

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About the offer:

$1 off rebate on any flavor of 10.5oz snack

About the product:

Gluten Free | Wheat Free | Good Source of Fiber

All of Glutenfreeda granolas provide a great source of Fiber & are fortified with flax seeds that has been known to lower cholesterol, which to be high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Glutenfreeda Burrito

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About the offer:

$.75 off rebate on any 4oz burrito

About the product:

Gluten Free | All Natural

According to a blind taste test conducted by the Huffington POst, Glutenfreeda Burritos were selected as best tasting vegetarian frozen burrito.

 

Visit your BerryCart account to see ALL of this week’s offers!

 

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What to Know About Gluten-Free Foods

Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Udi's Gluten Free CouponYou may have seen some foods that were labeled “gluten-free” while you were grocery shopping. What does that mean? It is important to understand what gluten-free means and the health reasons why some people need foods that are free of gluten. The Food and Drug Administration has rules about what gluten-free means on a food label.

What is Gluten?
Gluten is the name given to a mixture of proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten is also in crossbreeds of those grains. Most people can safely eat foods that contain gluten. Their bodies are able to break it down, digest it, and obtain nutrition from it. Gluten is also found as an additive to other foods because gluten can help foods maintain their shape.

Why Go Gluten-Free?
The reason why some people must avoid eating gluten is due to health reasons. There are about 3 million people in the United States who have celiac disease. When these people eat something that has gluten in it, their bodies react to the gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine. This causes harm that prevents the person from being able to properly digest food and to absorb nutrients.

There are also people who have an allergy to wheat, rye, barley, triticale, or all of the above. Others have a gluten intolerance. These people get very sick if they eat something that contains gluten. The symptoms that are caused from the body’s inability to digest gluten can linger for days after the person ate it.

People who do not have celiac disease, who do not have an allergy to wheat, rye, barley and/or triticale, and do not have an intolerance to gluten, have no good reason to go gluten-free. The gluten-free “diet” is not something that people should choose for the purpose of weight loss. There is no cure for celiac disease, allergies to gluten, or gluten intolerance. The only way to manage it is by dietary means.

New Rules for Food Labels
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued rules about what characteristics a food must have in order for the words “gluten-free” to appear on a food label. Those rules went into effect on August 5, 2014. Foods that have 20 ppm or more of gluten can no longer be labeled gluten-free.

In order for a food to be labeled gluten-free, it cannot contain…
…an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains.
…an ingredient derived from these grains that has not been processed to remove gluten.
…an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten.

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